Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review of the Wednesday night party, cause the Wednesday night party don't stop, no

And when I say "party" I mean "discussion of the sermon."

The sermon from last week focused on common objections to Christianity, specifically identifying its relationship to both science and violence. The long and short of it?

1. Christianity does not have to work in opposition to science. Realistically they're not on the same spectrum for comparison; science attempts to explain the physical world whereas faith is trying to tell us the meaning/value of that physical world. The problem is that both the church and science act with a great deal of hubris; science believes it can somehow disprove God's existence simply because by conquering certain complications of the physical world. Meanwhile, the church attempts to explain every bit of biology using the Book of Genesis, a document that is thousands of years old.

2. Yes, there have been a number of violent acts committed in the name of Christianity. We can't change that now. We can only apologize. There will always be a certain amount of violence associated with any strong belief (think environmental terrorism) and events like the Crusades (as an example) are not those we should be proud of. Jesus did not preach a gospel of violence. His reaction to violence would be one of forgiveness.

On Wednesday night we added more objections, based on our own conversations and on things that, quite frankly, we have trouble grasping ourselves:

• History -- the Old Testament reads like a fairy tale sometimes. People living to be hundreds of years old? Women having babies at age 75? God physically wrestling with Abraham?
• Authority/free will -- it's easier to live life if you're the one who's ultimately in charge
• Christians not setting a good example for the religion
• Putting off conversion, thinking "I'll become a Christian later", overly valuing the me-centered life
• Just maintaining a diet is hard enough...Christianity asks you to change your entire lifestyle.
• Christianity seems hokey
• Christianity and the church in general does not seem safe. You need someone to interpret everything for you, traditions don't make sense, and it's intimidating to enter a new culture within the same physical area where you already live
• "I'm already a nice person" so why do I need Jesus?
• Stale, legalistic churches for people who are more artistically-centered churches
• Lack of human interaction with Christians (so perception is derived from the media, rather than interpersonal relationships)

Before I became a Christian I remember thinking about how arbitrary Christianity seemed. If I'd grown up in India, I would have been Hindu. In China, I'd have been Buddhist; in Jamaica, I might have been Rastafarian. Somehow it seemed improbable that the dominant religion -- the one deciding the world's calendar, days to celebrate holidays, etc -- would be the "right" one. Of course, little did I realize that God and Jesus work through the improbable. The tomb was empty, after all.

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